Seahawks @ Vikings – TCF Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Last years Superbowl losers, The Seattle Seahawks, take on the NFC North Winners, Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings, led by future HOF Running back Adrian Peterson and the steady arm of young QB Teddy Bridgewater, won the NFC North against their arch rivals, The Green Bay Packers in Week 17. The Vikings, after a couple of years struggling have bounced back after an injection of young talent built through the draft since 2012. First rounders from drafts in the 3 years since, 2012 first rounders: Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith. 2013 first rounders Shariff Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, Cordarelle Patterson and 2014 first rounders Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater. Have built the core of the Vikings team on Offense, Defense and Special Teams. 2015 first rounder Trae Waynes has struggled but should continue to grow as he gets more experience. This young core surprised many by winning the division and face a tough test against the Seahawks. The Vikings will have to rely on their young QB to win them the game as The Seahawks will be able to contain Adrian Peterson with their great run defence.
The Seattle Seahawks struggled at the start of the season. Their big offseason acquisition was Tight End Jimmy Graham, considered the second best TE in the league behind Rob Gronkowski, Graham was meant to be the piece that sparked the Seahawks, often stagnant offense. The Seahawks have been to back-to-back super bowls, winning one and losing one. Since their early struggles The Seahawks swarming defence has suffocated opposing offences for the majority of the season and Russell Wilson has sparked life into their offense with his continuing development and big play ability. The Seahawks played in Minnesota earlier in the season and won comfortably.
Their is a wildcard in this game. The weather could be a huge factor in determining the winner. It will be ZERO Degrees Fahrenheit and with a windchill that will make it seem anywhere from -15 to -20f it will be cold in Minnesota. However, I am going to go with the team that has established stars rather than young stars who need a couple of more years to be ready. Prediction – Seahawks.
Packers @ Redskins – Fedex Field – Landover, Maryland.
The most surprising division winner, The Washington Redskins. Many thought they would hold the Number One overall pick in the draft after two years of drama, firings and underperformance. Head Coach Jay Gruden managed to avoid all drama by naming Kirk Cousins and NOT the cause of the drama, Robert Griffin III, as the starter. Cousins has led the Redskins to a division title in a division that was weak. Much like the Texans, it was a division that none of the four teams seemingly wanted to win. The Redskins quietly won the division and cost two headcoaches their jobs, with Chip Kelly (Formerly The Eagles Headcoach) and Legendary Coach Tom Coughlin (Formerly The Giants Headcoach) to be fired and resign respectively. The Redskins have a solid offense with Deep threat DeSean Jackson, Tight End Jordan Reed and two young Running back in Alfred Morris and Matt Jones who have carried this team in the Playoffs. They will need to lean on them to get past the Packers.
Despite making the Play-offs The Packers have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season. Last years Most Valuable Player, Aaron Rodgers, has struggled without his number one receiver, Jordy Nelson (out for the season) and no telling contributions from the up and down Eddie Lacy. Rodgers has been able to carry them past most teams but they have struggled against good teams without Nelson and a reliable defence. With no real star power on offense, beside Aaron Rodgers and a defence that isn’t good enough to carry a struggling offence it is difficult to pick them even with a superstar at QB.
Redskins ‘upset’ The Packers in a low scoring game in which The Redskins rely on not turning the ball over and playing without mistakes. The only division winner to make it through Wildcard Weekend. Prediction – The Redskins.